By Diana Croissant
I shared a Christmas memory; and because I did, I
received emails from distant relatives. That was so
exciting for me. But Easter was, in many ways, more
special for our family than Christmas, so I want to
share memories of that, too.
Though it may not be a German-Russian tradition,
the Easter dresses and bonnets always come to my mind
when I think about Easter celebrations. Mother worked
many hours in advance of Easter sewing special Easter
dresses for her three girls. And we each of us always
got to pick out a bonnet to go with her new dress.
Easters were most often spent with my Croissant cousins
after church having Easter dinner at my grandparents'
house. Just walking into the house to smell the food
preparing was a treat in itself. We would have roast
chicken and all the other fixings. But dinner always
started with chicken noodle soup (and the noodles
were the home-made variety, of course) with butterballs.
Those butterballs were so much part of the enjoyment
of having the soup for me that it wasn't until I was
much older that I realized that my friends at school
did not know what they were. My Grandma Croissant
always flavored them with allspice, and we always
sprinkled a little cinnamon into the soup. Grandma's
garlic rolls and her cherry Kase-kuchen were also
not to be missed at Easter.
But for the young, Easter dinner was also special
because we got to feel quite grown up since we also
got the shot glass of Easter wine at our place setting.
My grandparents' house was not very big, so the covered
card tables pushed together wound throughout the house.
Grandma had a large collection of shot glasses so
that all the aunts, uncles, and cousins could have
one at his or her plate. He filled each with Mogen
David grape wine. Today, when my "cultured"
friends have their wine-tasting parties or when they
talk about special wines, I can't even imagine a better
tasting wine than Mogen David grape.
Grandpa had spent the morning hiding the colored
Easter eggs in his backyard; and, of course the egg
hunt is also a source of special memories for me.
As we grew older, Easter also became important because
it meant that the week before, during the year each
of us turned fourteen, we would be confirmed in the
We had been studying our catechism at confirmation
school each Saturday since the late fall. On Palm
Sunday, we would be confirmed after the pastor had
put us through the question-answer session to test
our learning. We were usually each presented with
a gift Bible from our respective godparents. (I still
have mine, and it has always been my favorite Bible.)
Then, on Maunday Thursday, we were finally able to
participate in the Lord's Supper, having learned its
meaning. Reverend Stroh had prepared us for that,
too, by telling us what our particular family preferred:
the wafers or the pieces of bread.
For us girls, being confirmed was also a transition
into a more adult world. We, again, got to have a
special dress made to wear, but this time it would
first be worn under our white confirmation robe. But
more importantly, it was the first time we were allowed
to pick out "high" heels to wear with our
dress and, of course, nylon stalkings. (The heels
were not very high, though, usually only 2 inches
at the most.)
Easter was always so important as I grew up. I cherish
the memories and think of my family who are now not
living, hoping they know how much I miss them.